Storm Safety Resources

// Katie Rynard on Friday September 8, 2017

Hurricane season has officially reached the halfway point, and this year's active season has already caused much devastation.

Whether you're dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, are bracing yourself for Hurricane Irma, or are facing other storm damage and flooding, reviewing these safety resources can help ensure you, your loved ones and your organization are ready:

Hurricane Preparedness & Response will help you familiarize yourself with hurricane terminology and get your facility ready to weather the storm.

Emergency Shelter Preparedness highlights what you need to do if your organization decides to open its doors to those in your community who are impacted by natural disasters.

Steps to Take After a Storm is a checklist that will walk you through filing a claim, assessing damage and cleaning up.

Protecting Property & Equipment After a Storm, from Hartford Steam Boiler, GuideOne's equipment breakdown reinsurer, describes the appropriate steps to take before using any equipment, machinery or electrical systems that have been exposed to flood waters.

GuideOne's thoughts and prayers continue to be with everyone impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Katie Rynard

Katie Rynard

Katie Rynard is a Corporate Communications Specialist at GuideOne Insurance.

When she's not at work, she enjoys decorating, traveling, trying new restaurants and spending time with her husband, daughter and dachshund puppy.

Steps to Take After a Storm

// Lindsay Taylor on Tuesday May 30, 2017

So far in 2017, there have been 10,709 reports of severe weather across the country. This includes 928 tornadoes, 3,471 reports of hail and 6,310 reports of strong winds. Of these reports, the state of Texas alone had 1,180 reports of severe weather followed by Missouri with 833 reports and Georgia with 633 reports.*

As the reports indicate, severe weather happens often, and unfortunately it leaves behind quite a trail of damage. If your organization experiences damage caused by severe weather, refer to this checklist for steps you should take following the storm:

Filing a Claim

  • If your property has suffered a loss, report it. Call your insurance company and file a claim.  
  • Take photographs of the damage to help document your claim.
  • Keep receipts for all expenses related to the loss.

Assessing the Damage

  • Before re-entering your building, check for structural damage. Don’t go in if it looks unsafe or if there is a chance of falling debris or a building collapse.
  • Thoroughly, and cautiously, inspect for damage and potential hazards.
  • When you enter the building, use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns instead of matches, candles or other open flames because gas may be trapped inside. If you smell gas or hear a hissing sound, leave immediately and call the gas company from a neighboring location. If the gas meter is outside, turn off the gas at the meter.
  • Turn off the electricity at the main circuit panel even if power is out in the community. Keep the power off until an electrician has inspected your system and given the go-ahead.
  • Do not start the heating system or boilers until the systems have been inspected.
  • Check for sewage and water line damage. If you suspect damage, avoid using the toilets and taps. Turn off water at the meter and call a plumber.
  • Contact utility companies and reputable contractors to secure the building.
  • Until local authorities declare the water supply to be safe, do not drink tap water or use it in food preparation unless it is boiled first.
  • Check playground areas for safety hazards caused by the weather.

Cleaning Up

  • Make temporary repairs to protect the property from further damage. Cover holes in the roof, walls or windows with tarps, boards or plastic sheeting.
  • Do not attempt to remove or replace displaced propane tanks as there is a real danger of fire or explosion.
  • Wear rubber boots, waterproof gloves and other protection during cleanup.
  • If floodwaters entered the building and left mud behind, shovel the mud out of the building and then hose down the area. Dry out the premises with fans, dehumidifiers and desiccants (materials that absorb moisture).
  • Clean walls and hard-surfaced floors with soap and water. Disinfect with a mixture of 1 cup of bleach to 5 gallons of water. Steam clean all carpets.
  • Remove and discard any materials that cannot be disinfected such as wall coverings and drywall.
  • Throw away any food items – including canned goods – that have come into contact with floodwaters.
  • Do not allow adults or children to search through debris piles on the premises.

For more information on preparing for severe weather and dealing with the aftermath, check out these resources:

Hurricane Preparedness and Response 
Tornadoes 
Wind and Hail Preparedness
Why You Should Take Storm Damage Seriously 

Sources: NOAA | The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC

*Information current as of May 30, 2017.

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Lindsay Taylor

Lindsay Taylor

Lindsay Taylor is a Marketing Coordinator for GuideOne Insurance, focusing on marketing communications and the co-op program.

In her free time, she enjoys dancing, running and spending time with friends and family.

5 Tips for Protecting Yourself and Your Home from Lightning Strikes

// Natalie McCormick on Thursday July 9, 2015

In less than a microsecond, a lightning strike can produce heat five times hotter than the surface of the sun.  While this is quite remarkable, it also is very dangerous.  About one in 200 homes are struck by lightning each year, resulting in torched homes and even injury. As a matter of fact, lightning was responsible for $674 million in homeowners insurance losses in 2013.

In honor of Lightning Safety Awareness week, here are some suggestions for protecting yourself and your home from lightning strikes.

  1. Have a professional install a certified lightning protection system. This system is made up of a series of components:
    • Air terminals (also known as lightning rods)
    • Main conductors
    • Grounds – A minimum of two ground rods, driven at least 10 feet deep is suggested.
    • Bonds
    • Surge arresters and suppressors – These prevent the entrance of overvoltages, which can lead to fire.
  2. Consider having a lightning protection system installed on any trees taller than or within 10 feet of the home.
  3. Follow the “30-30” rule.  When you see lightning flash, count the number of seconds until you hear thunder.  If you hear thunder in 30 seconds or less, the storm is close enough to be dangerous.  If you aren’t already somewhere safe that’s your cue to get there. After the storm ends, stay in your safe place for at least 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
  4. Unplug all electronics in the house, including landline telephones. While surge protectors offer some protection, they may not protect you and your home should it be hit with a direct lightning strike.
  5. Avoid taking a bath or using the shower as water pipes conduct electricity.  

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Natalie McCormick

Natalie McCormick

Natalie McCormick is the Marketing Coordinator for GuideOne Insurance where she manages the direct mail program and assists with content marketing. 

When she's not at work she enjoys playing volleyball as well as perusing the local farmer's market.  If you can't find her outside you may find her inside reading a good book or baking a new recipe.

Steps to Follow After a Severe Loss

// Natalie McCormick on Tuesday June 9, 2015

It was May 20, 2013 at 2:45 p.m. in New Castle, Oklahoma. The day seemed like any other rainy, spring day.  Children were on their way home from school, either getting on the bus or being picked up by Mom and Dad eager to get home, throw down their backpacks and play with their friends.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature had a different plan.  What happened over the next 45 minutes changed their lives forever. 

Just minutes before 3 p.m., an EF5 tornado devastated portions of Newcastle and Moore, Oklahoma.  The tornado measured at 1.3 miles wide and traveled over 17 miles causing over $2 billion dollars in damage. 

On the day following the devastating tornado, a GuideOne customer was surveying damages at his home when a car stopped and a gentleman exited holding a few bottles of water, coffee and breakfast.  That person, wearing a GuideOne Claims Team shirt, was shortly followed by a trusted mitigation vendor.  The offer of help, guidance, and a friendly smile was a welcome relief that helped ease the customer’s anxieties and worry. 

If you’ve ever been a victim of a natural disaster, like this Oklahoma community, you probably know what you do immediately following the disaster is critical to recovery.  Whether it’s a flood, fire, hurricane, tornado, earthquake or winter storm it’s important to know what to do, and who to call, in case disaster strikes.  It’s also important to have an insurance provider you trust.  Consider the steps below should you ever be affected by a severe loss.

The First 24 Hours
Once you’ve confirmed that you and those you live with are out of harm’s way, consider the following:

  • If you have any damage to your property, contact your insurance agent and discuss what steps you should take to file a claim.
  • If anyone is injured, weak or has unusual symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
  • If your home has been damaged, turn off your gas and electricity, if you can safely do so. 
  • If your power and gas lines have sustained any damage, report these right away, and let utility workers determine when it’s safe to turn them back on.
  • Stay off the roads as this will make it easier for emergency workers to get to damage quickly.
  • If there is a fire hydrant by your home, and you can do so safely, clear away the debris around it so that the fire department may easily access it.
  • Stay tuned to the radio or TV for news about what to do, where to go and what to avoid.  The news also may have numbers for local disaster relief services that can assist you with food, shelter, medicine and clothing. 

Preparing for Recovery

  • Do what you can to replace important documents that may have been lost or destroyed.  These documents include your driver’s license, auto registration, bank books, insurance policies, health insurance cards, credit cards, titles to deeds, stocks and bonds and wills.
  • If you can, try to reconstruct your financial records.  Contact your bank and credit card companies to provide you with back statements.  The IRS can provide you with your tax returns from previous years.
  • Save your receipts.  This will help when you’re filing your insurance claims and your income tax return.
  • Make a list of all property that was damaged or destroyed.  Conducting a home inventory prior to a disastrous event will greatly lessen the stress this can cause. 
  • Inform your creditors and utilities companies so that they can stop billing your home or work with you to help you get through the situation. 

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Natalie McCormick

Natalie McCormick

Natalie McCormick is the Marketing Coordinator for GuideOne Insurance where she manages the direct mail program and assists with content marketing. 

When she's not at work she enjoys playing volleyball as well as perusing the local farmer's market.  If you can't find her outside you may find her inside reading a good book or baking a new recipe.